On this day in science history: 28 May

From the days of ancient technology to modern science - find out what happened on this day in the history of science.

28th May 2017
Naoyuki Noda © Getty Images

Naoyuki Noda © Getty Images

585 BC – First accurately predicted solar eclipse

The Eclipse of Thales becomes the first solar eclipse to be predicted in advance, by Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus.

The eclipse led to a truce between the Medes and the Lydians, who perceived it as an omen. Due to the coincidence with the war, this is the earliest historical event whose date is known with precision to the day, creating a cardinal date from which other dates can be calculated.

Q&A: Why are solar eclipses rarer than lunar eclipses?

1934 – First quintuplets to survive infancy born

The Dionne quintuplets as babies © Planet News Archive/SSPL/Getty Images
The Dionne quintuplets as babies © Planet News Archive/SSPL/Getty Images

The Dionne sisters are born in Canada, later becoming the first identical quintuplets for all to survive to adulthood.

At four months old, the sisters were removed from their parents by the Ontario government, who expressed concerns about the girls being exploited for fame. However the Dionne quintuplets were placed in a specially built hospital and became the country’s biggest tourist attraction. They were eventually returned to their parents in 1943, and two of the sisters are still alive today.

Listen: Witness - The Dionne Quintuplets

1959 – Monkeys become first mammals to survive space flight

Able upon his return © NASA
Able upon his return © NASA

Two monkeys safely return to Earth after being fired 300 miles into stratosphere, becoming the first animals to survive space.

Able, a rhesus monkey, and Baker, a squirrel monkey, reached speeds of 10,000mph and changes in their heartbeats, muscles, body temperature, and breathing were monitored using implanted electrodes. Despite surviving the flight and landing, Able later died from the effects of the anaesthetic used to remove the electrodes.

Other animals had previously been sent to space, but with the technology for returning to Earth not yet developed, their trips were essentially suicide missions.

See more famous space firsts that you might have missed

Discover more history of science


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